A good proactive maintenance program can help solve dues increases, overspending, and a HOA board inquisition! The flyer shown below is one of the countless examples of putting off maintenance to save money in the short-term, but the long-term effects are quite devastating.
Remember the time you bought that $5 pair of sandals, instead of the $10 pair? One month later that $5 pair broke and now you need a new pair! Then it happens again, and again, and again. What would have happened if you had just spent that extra $5 to start? Would you have saved in the long haul?
In the same community where the above flyers were posted, we can see here:
paint chipping and possible wood damage. Instead of maintaining the overhangs, the community is now forced to pay for a complete replacement! Costing way more than a simple paint job.
There are countless examples where you can put off maintenance to save some money in the short-term, but it is crucial to know when to step in and perform maintenance and repairs. Your objective should always be to employ preventive maintenance to maintain safety, protect your assets, and avoid having to spend money needlessly on costly repairs.
Following are some specific things that you can do to avoid wasting money.
Perform roofing maintenance: Don’t replace a roof before you absolutely have to! How do you get the longest possible life out of your roof? Maintain it correctly. Every year, replace worn out asphalt, shingles, or broken tiles, caulk all roof penetrations, and clean all gutters and downspouts. If your board is in a skimpy mood you can forgive them for not performing a full maintenance every year. However, don’t ever forget to clean your rain gutters each fall.
Roof shingles– skip the extra warranties: Don’t be fooled with extra-long roofing shingle or tile warranties either, as roofing companies also go out of business often and you could be left holding a worthless warranty. Most roof shingles come with a 25-year warranty but you can pay double that to get a 40-year warranty. In most climates, you are unlikely to get more than 20 years’ life on any asphalt or fiberglass shingle. Concrete or clay roofing products do last considerably longer than 25 years. The key is to use a reputable manufacturer who stands behind their warranty. Many roofing manufacturers go out of business and their warranty becomes worthless.
Repaint the right way: Repainting is one of the most common maintenance tasks at any community. Beware of common mistakes such as scraping off loose paint then failing to coat exposed wood with oil-based primer before repainting. Also, never paint when the temperature is below 50F or the manufacturer’s recommendations. Ensure that your primer and finish paint are compatible; check with the paint manufacturer. Most importantly, read the directions on the paint can and follow them meticulously. Finally, it is important to purchase paint from a reputable, well-known manufacturer who warrantees their products.
Use a painting maintenance program: One of the most common money wasters is painting entire buildings. Wood, metal and stucco all age differently. Also, a building’s orientation on the site will result in differential deterioration of paint. Thus, on the southwest sides of some buildings you may need to repaint but the paint is perfectly good on the west, east, and north sides of the buildings. So why repaint the entire building? Wood also deteriorates differentially. So wood that is wet more often on the north side will deteriorate the paint faster than on the southern side of the building. So how do you avoid repainting the entire building? Simple! Engage a painting maintenance program so you are only repainting those building components that need repainting – instead of the entire building.
Bathroom fixture savings: Repairing or reconditioning bathroom and kitchen fixtures is much less expensive than replacing them. Leaky faucets are the most common bathroom and kitchen problem. A new faucet can cost up to $200 but why not just replace the leaky cartridge at a cost of $.59 or go ahead and splurge for a whole new valve for $10 to $15. Refurbishing also can be better for kitchens. Why pay $20,000 to $30,000 for a kitchen remodel when you can refinish cabinets and replace countertops and sinks for less than that amount?
Use high-quality windows: When replacing windows, it pays to use a high-quality window with a good warranty. If you use a lesser-known window because it comes with a long warranty, don’t be fooled because window companies go out of business often. Thus, use a window (and window company) that has a long history.
Relax- over-cleaning can cause premature aging: Over-scrubbing sinks, tubs, and floors with abrasive cleaners will wear off the finish. Instead use a bathroom-fixture coating. This provides a protective coating for both fiberglass and ceramics that lasts six to eight weeks. Water spots can be easily removed with a soft cloth. Don’t over-clean carpets, either. Steam cleaning more than twice a year damages carpet. Consider using a throw rug if a particular area gets dirty all the time.